DISTINCTLY A CHILD OF THE LATE 1980s and early '90s, my age doesn't usually allow for appreciation of early pop culture revival theater. The inside jokes of Theater Schmeater's The Twilight Zone or the well-loved Dina Martina are lost on me, a kid whose first television memories begin with my fourth-grade crush on Alyssa Milano in Who's the Boss.

Nevertheless, Annex Theater's For Lorne, an unabashed tribute to the life and work of the "Queen of Quirk," Marion Lorne, touched a '60s television nostalgia button I didn't know I had. I barely remember Lorne as the muddled Aunt Clara in Bewitched, but neither does Ben Stevens, our modern-guy link through the sometimes surreal but always well-threaded story of Lorne's life.

Our Dante to Lorne's Beatrice, Ben whirls confusedly along a memory-spell timeline cast by the gracefully bumbling Aunt Clara, as she recalls a story from her youth. Tripping through scenes from London's Whitehall Theater's glory days, the dawn of television's new paradigm, and the naive enthusiasm of early commercials, Ben encounters four Lorne incarnations (hardy-har) and a host of old character actors, TV wizards, and the immortal cast of Bewitched.

Sound sappy? It is, but with humorous flair. Though playwright/director Ed Hawkins sometimes belabors his intentions with a sledgehammer (Ben's final, now-I-appreciate-you-so-much-more speech to Lorne smothers any sentimentality the audience might've independently cultivated), For Lorne comes off pretty darned well.

The supporting cast, especially Scott Plusquellec's sharp character acting and Laura McCabe's dead-on Carol Burnett, grants the production a kind of cartoonish sincerity, but Beth Andrisevic's Aunt Clara is downright, well, bewitching. Negotiating the tender balance between dignified and dottering old woman, she brings Lorne into the laps of even non-Bewitched aficionados.

"A good play should have a little bit of everything," Aunt Clara intones, recalling her days on London stages. For Lorne takes this maxim to heart, folding together comic and touching interludes with a ramshackle beauty, and for the most part, success. Perhaps most significantly, Hawkins' tribute owes much of its glory to Lorne's own brilliance; borrowed characters and dialogue surface throughout the play. Her array of stage personas--persistent and bumbling, moon-eyed and romantic--lend a deep well of comic mastery and biographical urgency.

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